The 1. Panzer-Division was a panzer division that served with Germany during World War II. It was first formed in 1935, using old components of the 3rd Cavalry Division in the Weimar Republic. The division itself quickly gained fame as it quickly proved its combat skill in early conflicts such as the invasion of Poland.


The first commander of the 1. Panzer Division was Maximilian von Weichs zu Glon, who served as commander from early 1935 to late 1937, before being replaced by Rudolf Schmidt, who himself retained command until November 1939. He was succeeded by Friedrich Kirchner, who served for two years, before being replaced by Walter Krüger in 1941.[1] Krüger being one of the most decorated of the commanders of 1. Panzer Division, was only replaced in 1944. The final three commanders of the division retained command each for a very small amount of time, usually only a couple of months. They were in order, Richard Koll, Werner Marcks, and Eberhard Thunert.


The 1. Panzer-Division - as of 1943 - consisted of the 1. Panzer Brigade, 1. Panzergrenadier Regiment, 113. Panzergrenadier-Regiment, 73. Artillerie-Regiment, and their supporting regiments/battalions, such as flak, pioneers, and panzerjägers.[2]

1st Panzer Division Maas

Elements of the 1. Panzer Division during river crossing operations over the Maas river

Unit History

The 1. Panzer-Division's first combat experience was in Poland in 1939, during the opening phases of the invasion. Within days, the division was already approaching Warsaw with the help of other mechanized forces. After the surrender of Poland, the division was relocated and prepared for the renewed offensive in France. Once again, breakthroughs were immediate, with the division scheduled to reach the French coast within days.

In 1941, the division was once again relocated to the east and joined the heavy fighting around Moscow. However, following the harsh winter of that year, the division remained on the defensive for more years to come. Slowly, the division was pushed back to Kiev. After a brief stint in Greece, the division was once again sent to the east, where it fought near Budapest in 1944. Still, the division could not maintain its defense and was once again pushed back across the mountains. Eventually, the division was far west enough to be captured by the US Army. 



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